This reminds me of the age-old question teachers and employers ask the eager youth as they strut, prance, or tiptoe through the doors of adulthood.
People respond with the typical answers: money, family, business, career, success, six figure salaries, house…. The material desires roll off the tongue, regurgitated from generations before.
I am still young-ish, but getting roughed up in my twenties and thirties has made the question “What will your life be like in three years” quite complicated. A lot can happen within that time. Some of us have had life changing experiences within minutes.
I am unsure of what the future holds, but in three years, I hope to be older, wiser, and healthier.
I hope to be older because growing older is a privilege in the face of a hostile world. We seem to worry about maintaining the aesthetic and ignorance of youth, and less about appreciating the battle scars of age. The double standard is worse for women, who are depreciated for their battle scars for, as French philosopher Simone de Beauvoir put it, “When women act like women, they are accused of being inferior. When women act like human beings, they are accused of behaving like men.”
Climate change, a collapsing ecosystem, threats of nuclear war, the startling humanitarian crises unfolding in the Middle East, political instability, inflation, weakening protections for women’s health, and the mile long remainder of the list makes looking to the future a difficult feat when you are young.
Yet, I continue to live in solidarity with uncertain peace because anyone’s life can change in the span of a minute. Despite annual challenges, I am grateful and fortunate to be able to grow older in general comfort.
I hope to be wiser as I grow older because it means I was fortunate to have experiences. Life is difficult, and people have various subjective experiences. So, it is important to value our own unique memoirs.
I have learned from both the positive and negative. Some days life feels like a spa. Other days (sometimes most) feel like everlasting punches.
Yet, I enjoy the wisdom that comes with age. I enjoy the growing confidence that grows with it. I revel in battle scars because it means I survived. I admire my hardened skin. I appreciate the knowledge gained year after year. In three years, I plan to have more wisdom for surviving the world.
I hope to be healthier as I grow older because good health dictates your quality of life. This goes for both physical and mental health.
I am not perfectly healthy; injuries I experienced in the past have resurfaced into daily foot, knee, and back pain. I can’t do what I used to, but I found an impressive amount of joy in just being able to walk. I revel in the movements I can still do.
I also love how I can choose who to spend time with. Life is too short to spend time with those who demean you, do not appreciate you, and fill your world with misery. No one is owed abuse. Only engage with those who lift you up and vice versa.
In three years, I will be healthier in body and soul, and have fewer toxic individuals in my life. I will have a healthier balance so that I can continue exploring my art, continue loving my friends and family, and continue exploring my capabilities.